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Botanical Gardens & Arboretums in Phoenix, AZ

Looking for a place to commune with plants in Phoenix?

You’ve got quite a few options inside the Phoenix city limits (and in the surrounding ‘burbs.)

Here are the places plant life thrives closest to town:

Phoenix Botanical Gardens

phoenix botanic

These are Phoenix’s nearest botanical gardens:

Desert Botanical Garden

1201 N Galvin Parkway
Phoenix, AZ 85008
(480) 941-1225

Daily: 7 am-8 pm (May-Sept)
Daily: 8 am-8 pm (Oct-Apr)

Admission: $16.95 (3+); Free (Children 2 and under)

Parking: Free


  • Desert Terrace Garden
  • Spanish Garden
  • Hummingbird Garden
  • Butterfly Garden
  • Bee Garden
  • Cactus & Succulent Galleries
  • Edible Garden
  • Steele Herb Garden
  • Native Crop Garden
  • Berlin Agave Yucca Forest
  • Grasslands

Other Attractions & Amenities

  • Desert Oasis Water Feature
  • Butterfly Pavilion
  • Nature Trails
  • Research & Horticulture Center
  • Library
  • Full-Service Farm-To-Table Restaurant
  • Outdoor Café (Winter Season)

Japanese Friendship Garden

1125 N 3rd Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85003
(602) 274-8700

Monday: Closed
Tuesday-Thursday: 8 am-Noon
Friday-Sunday: 8 am-Noon; 5 pm-7:30 pm

Admission: $10 (Adults); $8 (Seniors); $7 (Ages 7-17/Students/Military); Free (Ages 0-6)

Parking: Free


  • Tea Garden
  • Grasslands
  • Woodlands

Other Attractions & Amenities

  • Teahouse
  • Koi Pond
  • Stream
  • Foot Bridges
  • Pebble Beach
  • Sculpture/Statues
  • Waterfall
  • Gift Shop
botanic plants

Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden

Chaparral Park
8111 E McDonald Dr
Scottsdale, AZ 85250
(480) 312-2353

Daily: Sunrise-10:30 pm

Admission: Free

Parking: Free


  • Native/Xeriscape

Glendale Xeriscape Garden

Sahuaro Ranch Park
5959 W Brown St
Glendale, AZ 85302
(623) 930-3596

Daily: Dawn-Dusk

Admission: Free

Parking: Free


  • Habitat Garden
  • Rain Garden
  • Succulent Space
  • Cactus Garden
  • Desert Food Forest
  • Tree Trail

Brinton Desert Botanical Garden

Park of the Canals
1710 N Horne
Mesa, AZ 85203

Daily: Sunrise-Sunset

Admission: Free

Parking: Free


  • Native (Cacti/Joshua Trees/Agave)
  • Shade Gardens

Other Attractions & Amenities

  • Native American Irrigation Ditches/Canals
  • Archeological Site

Chandler Xeriscape Demonstration Garden

botanic cacti
410 N Arrowhead Dr
Chandler, AZ 85224
(480) 782-3580

Daily: Dawn-Dusk

Admission: Free

Parking: Free (Street)


  • Native/Xeriscape
  • Low-Maintenance Garden
  • Wildlife Garden

Other Attractions & Amenities

  • A Desert Diamond Sculpture
  • Child-Friendly, Pet-Friendly Area

Carefree Desert Gardens

101 Easy St
Carefree, AZ 85377
(480) 488-3686

Daily: Dawn-Dusk

Admission: Free

Parking: Free


  • Native/Desert

Other Attractions & Amenities

  • Sundial
  • Playground
  • Splash Park (April-October)
  • Seminars

Phoenix Arboretums

arboretum 2

These are the closest arboretums to Arizona’s urban heart:

Fountain Hills Botanical Garden

11300 N Fountain Hills Blvd
Fountain Hills, AZ 85268
(480) 816-5100

Daily: Dusk-Dawn

Admission: Free

Parking: Free


  • Saguaro Cacti
  • Brittlebush
  • Hedgehog Cacti
  • Ocotillo

Note: It goes by botanical garden, but it really isn’t. It is definitely a cactus/native plant arboretum with a handful of trees, just to make sure it properly fits the definition.

Botanical Gardens & Arboretums FAQ

Getting jonesed up for your trip to a local botanical garden or arboretum?

Here are some cool questions and answers about botanic gardens to help get you in the mood.

botanic flowers 3

Does botanic and botanical mean the same thing?

Yup. You will see some gardens use “botanic” and some gardens use “botanical,” but they have the exact same meaning –

“involving or relating to plants”

The term is derived from “botany,” which is biology’s branch for plant life.

Is there a difference between a botanical garden and an arboretum?


There is some crossover between the two, and their missions of preserving, cataloguing and studying plant life is largely the same, but there is a difference between a botanical garden and an arboretum.

That difference is in the plants that they grow and study.

A botanical garden has specialized areas (greenhouses, conservatories, gardens) in which they typically grow non-native plants or collections of plants.

An arboretum is focused on native trees and wood plants (though, they may grow other trees and plants), which are generally grown outdoors in their natural environments.

While there are some arboretums that stand alone, many are found within the grounds of botanical gardens.

What is the largest botanical garden in the world?

Kew Gardens, officially named Royal Botanic Gardens, just outside of London, England is considered the world’s biggest botanical garden.

At 320 acres, it’s not the largest in size, but at 30,000 species, it has the most diverse collection of living plants in the world.

What is the largest botanical garden in the U.S.?

Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania (just outside of Wilmington, Delaware) is the largest botanical garden in the United States by size.

It sits on nearly 1,100 acres, though not all of that is devoted to the gardens themselves.

But if we’re talking species, the largest U.S. botanical garden is New York Botanical Garden.

At 250 acres, it’s only a fourth the size of Longwood Gardens, but houses 12,000 different species of plants.

Could I just grow a bunch of plants and call it a botanical garden?

You could, but you wouldn’t be meeting the official definition or criteria for a botanical garden.

A botanic garden, as defined by the International Association of Botanic Gardens, must be open to the public and its plants must be labeled.

But that is the most general definition.

Botanic Gardens Conservation International, an organization which counts most of the world’s most important botanic gardens amongst its membership, have expanded the definition to include additional criteria.

Some of these criteria are:

  • Being largely permanent
  • Keeping proper documentation of all plant species
  • Maintaining proper labeling of plant species
  • Having a scientific basis for collections
  • Doing on-site study/research

Basically, if you don’t have a scientific explanation for why you have certain plants and why you have them in certain groupings and you aren’t actively studying them, you don’t really have a botanical garden.

After all, the study of plants – botany – is right there in the name.